If insomnia dogs you night after night, it can do more than put you in a bad mood. It can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, your gut, and your grey matter.
It can even shave years off your life!
Good night sleep tight
Unfortunately, there’s no “silver bullet” for insomnia — and popping pills just makes you feel doped up. However, there are natural ways that can help you combat those long evenings of staring at the ceiling.
For instance, the Harvard School of Medicine talks about tai chi as “medication in motion”, and it’s for a very good reason. Mounting evidence is showing that this ancient Chinese mind-body practice has great value in helping to alleviate insomnia.
Another pair of studies also recently revealed two simple and natural tricks to help you fall asleep and combat insomnia more easily.
In the first study, older people who were struggling with insomnia took a herbal extract from the chamomile plant twice a day. After a month, they woke up fewer times during the night and felt more rested than members of the placebo group.
Of course, if you’ve ever poured yourself a hot cup of chamomile tea before bed, you won’t be surprised by these new findings.
Chamomile has calming effects on your central nervous system (CNS) — just like some of those powerful sleep aids do, but without the dangerous side effects.
But here’s something that can have the opposite effect as chamomile: The blue light emitted by devices like smartphones or laptops can arouse your CNS!
Not only that, but it can suppress your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin — which means that your body can no longer effectively tell you when it’s time to sleep, and it will have trouble staying asleep!
But according to another new study — this one out of Columbia University — a small group of people with insomnia got about half an hour more sleep each night over the course of a week, just by blocking out that blue light for two hours before bed.
Unlike the control group, they also reported that they slept more deeply and felt more rested — a sure sign that their melatonin was able to do its job correctly.
Ideally, you should just limit (or eliminate) your exposure to devices that emit blue light — including TVs and LED light bulbs, too — for two hours before you hit the hay.
Many of the newer smartphones and laptops can also be set on “nighttime” mode to minimise the blue light they emit.
But at least you know that if you have no other recourse, you can find the same kind of blue-light-blocking, amber-coloured lenses used in the study at eyeglass retailers and online.
And if you’re not much of a tea drinker (which I am), you can find chamomile extract in the health food store or online. Participants in the study took 200mg twice a day.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Burning question: What natural remedies can I use to achieve peaceful sleep?, published online, abc.net.au/news/health/2017-04-05/what-natural-remedies-can-i-use-to-achieve-peaceful-sleep/8417248